Marketers look to increase social video ad placements

Marketers look to increase social video ad placements

Digital video viewing is mainstream, and eMarketer estimates that 182.5 million people in the US, or 75% of all internet users, will view digital videos this year, and video advertising spending will increase by more than 40% in 2013 as well.

Video viewership and social sharing are closely intertwined; for example, an April 2013 blinkx survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that more than 40% of social network users watch TV or online video and simultaneously discuss content with their friends&mdashthe percentage was even higher among respondents ages 18 to 34, 14% of whom said they “always/often” do so.

Despite the connection between social network users and video content, social video advertising is still nascent. According to “Demystified: Video Advertising on Social Networks,” an August 2013 study from Mixpo, 8.5% of agency executives said they were underperforming on social video advertising, and none of the respondents said they were experts in the medium, according to the report.

Advertisers’ admitted lack of sophistication doesn’t mean they aren’t testing and experimenting. According to the Mixpo report, nearly 70% of agency executives planned to advertise on YouTube in 2014, while nearly one-quarter expect to run video ads on Twitter and about one in seven on LinkedIn. Though video advertising as Mixpo defines it doesn’t yet exist on Facebook, Instagram or Vine, nearly half of respondents to the survey said they would work video ads into their Facebook marketing mix if given the opportunity.

For social network users, identifying paid advertising and owned content marketing is often a blurry line. Mixpo’s definition of video advertising excludes branded video posts on social sites, but it doesn’t denote whether it refers to sponsored video posts, which are likely to be the types of paid video ads that will first find their way into Facebook, Instagram and Vine, given the networks’ respective user interfaces (and opportunities in mobile). Notably, Unisphere Research found in an August 2013 survey that nearly 60% of marketers would like to increase their video content in social networks&mdashmore than any other content category.

Social network advertising is unique because it requires marketers to fit in context with content rather than standing out from what the user is viewing, as a television or digital video programming advertisement is designed to do. As a result, sponsored video content may in turn be the most suitable way for advertisers to integrate and ingratiate themselves within social network users’ information feeds.

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Adweek’s Video Ads Leaderboard – Top 5 May 2013

Sony and Microsoft stormed Adweek and YouTube’s Ads Leaderboard in May as both companies introduced their next-gen gaming consoles—the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One—in teaser videos. Both of those clips made the top five this month. But they were eclipsed by a teaser for an actual video game, which took the top spot.

Elsewhere on this month’s list, Old Spice nailed down two spots in the top 10 for the second straight month. And Kmart followed up April’s enormously successful “Ship My Pants” ad with “Big Gas Savings,” which reached less stratospheric but still respectable levels.

Audi of America placed high on this month’s list with its hilarious spot starring Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto. And Cruzan Rum also snuck in with its amusing take on laid-back island life

TOP 5 most watched video ads in may;

#5 Xbox One “Unveil Video” (5.6 million)

New tech, a new all-in-one entertainment system…of course people were curious to see the video showing it off:

#4 Audi: “Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: The Challenge” (5.8 million)

Capitalizing on the new Star Trek movie, this much-discussed Audi ad was 4th on the list:

#3 Old Spice “Baby” (6.5 million)

Terry Crews and crazy Old Spice crack the top 3 with cracked craziness:

#2 Sony “PlayStation 4” (7.1 million)

This teaser for the new video game system, which pretty much shows nothing and tells you to go to E3 to get a good look, still got lots of people to watch:

#1 Call of Duty “Ghosts Masked Warriors Teaser Trailer” (10.9 million)

Adweek is quick to point out that Call of Duty’s “Ghosts Reveal Trailer” has 13 million views, but it doesn’t recognize “game play trailers” and only live-action ones for some reason.  Strange.  Anyway, anything Call of Duty is going to get huge numbers, and the live-action teaser is no different:

84% increase in online video ads in Q1, consumer goods responsible for the majority of video ads [Report]

Feedback from 1.8 Billion impressions via Videology’s own platform from January to March 2013 confirms that the majority of viewers continue to watch video ads primarily through their desktop PCs or laptops. However, ads seen via mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) increased by an impressive 27% compared to Q1 2012. Ads by financial service providers and restaurants saw an increase in budget spend, while telecommunications and the car industry spent less than the previous quarter. Video ads for consumer goods (CPG) took a 22.2% share of the U.S. market.

Who Is Advertising And For How Long?

Online video advertising for consumer goods accounted for 22.2% of ads shown in the U.S. (down from 24.4% from Q4 2012) and was by far the largest advertiser. However,  financial services, entertainment, restaurants and ‘business’ all increased their spend and market share compared to the previous quarter.

Online Views Dominate Q1 2013 US Video Ad Market [Report]

Although the percentages for ads viewed via online video, connected TVs and mobile devices stayed the same from Q4 of 2012, there was a significant increase in year on year growth, particularly for desktops and laptops. The percentage of 0:15 seconds ads by decreased by 4% but 0:30 + ad length increased by approximately 2.6% compared to Oct-Dec 2012. In Q1 2013, 57% of all online video ads were 30 seconds long, while in Q1 2012, 54% of ads were 0:30 seconds long.

Online Views Dominate Q1 2013 US Video Ad Market [Report]

Advertisers By Category

The Videology report breaks down its data by age of viewer versus the CTR or completion rate of each video ad. Compared to Q4 2012, there was a decrease in CTR from those aged between 18 to 24 years by 3.5% although other age group behaviour remained stable. In terms of completion rate, there was a slight increase in the 35-44 and 45-54 age range.

Online Views Dominate Q1 2013 US Video Ad Market [Report]

Websites based around entertainment hosted 70% of the online video ads accounted for, an increase of 9% from Q4 2012.

Online Views Dominate Q1 2013 US Video Ad Market [Report]

The Videology Whitepaper can be downloaded here


10 most social videos of 2012

Nike at the Olympics

Nike is known for using guerrilla marketing tactics to try and steal the limelight from its competitors, and during the London Olympics it managed to outshine official sponsor Adidas with a massive billboard and social campaign around the capital.

Nike eschewed the usual celebrity endorsements in a campaign that celebrated everyday athletes. It bought up hundreds of billboards around the city featuring the hashtag ‘#findgreatness’.

Adidas, which spent tens of millions of pounds to be an official sponsor, ran a campaign featuring Team GB athletes and the hashtag ‘#takethestage’.

According to Socialbakers’ CheerMeter there were more than 16,000 tweets associating Nike with the word Olympic between 27 July and 2 August compared to 9,295 for Adidas.

Furthermore. Nike attracted 166,718 new Facebook fans during the Games versus 80,761 for Adidas.

Data from Experian Hitwise shows that Nike achieved a 6% growth in its number of Facebook fans and a 77% boost in engagement on its Facebook page compared to 2% and 59% respectively for Adidas.

Dumb Ways To Die

I became aware of this campaign thanks to Vivienne Egan’s excellent blog post about why it’s achieved such huge viral success.

The video is a catchy tune created by a public transport authority in Melbourne, Australia, aimed at raising awareness about railway safety.

I don’t know whether it will actually prevent any train accidents, but you’d hope that the video had an impact on at least one of the 30m people who have watched it since it went live two weeks ago.

Dollar Shave Club

Male grooming can be an expensive business, particularly when buying branded razors on a regular basis.

Spotting a gap in the market, Michael Dubin set up Dollar Shave Club to provide men with new razors for just $1 a month.

In this brilliantly quirky video Dubin describes his businesses service in the company’s warehouse amid increasingly bizarre scenes.

It’s not only extremely funny, but also does a great job of convincing the viewer to sign up to Dollar Shave Club.


Social media lies at the heart of Cadbury’s marketing activities, and we‘ve reported on a number of product launches this year that used Facebook and Google+.

One of its most interesting social campaigns was to celebrate the brand reaching 1m Facebook fans.

Cadbury realised that despite having so many fans, only 16% of them ever saw content that the brand posted on Facebook.

The challenge was to increase the engagement among its fans, as well as reaching friends of fans and the wider Facebook community.

To test what content users would engage with, Cadbury decided to build a giant Facebook ‘like’ thumb out of pieces of Dairy Milk.

It used teaser ads in the build up to the event, then live streamed in a studio decorated with user-generated content and photos. The team also responded to user requests and comments in the video.

As a result, Cadbury gained 40,000 Facebook fans and more than 350,000 people were actively involved in the campaign. Some fans even left the live feed running for hours on end.


Back in May 20th Century Fox tried to tap into the viral power of Twitter to promote the release of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi movie Prometheus.

A new three-minute trailer for the film was screened simultaneously online, on Channel 4 and on social TV app Zeebox.

Viewers were then encouraged to tweet about the film using the hashtag #areyouseeingthis.

During the next ad break, Channel 4 screened a 40 second spot which included viewer’s tweets.

Analysis from 1000heads shows that there was a spike in activity, peaking at around 4,000 tweets, with the campaign potentially reaching around 15m users.

At the time I suggested that the reliance on traditional media meant that the campaign wasn’t particularly innovative, but I still think it’s a noteworthy example of a studio using social to promote a new movie.

Old Spice

Old Spice is responsible for some of the most memorable viral campaigns ever created (“I’m on a horse”), and this year it ditched its Old Spice Guy character for an interactive video involving ex-NFL player Terry Crews.

After watching a short video of Crews playing musical instruments by flexing his muscles, viewers could then use their keyboard to play their own tune.

It has little to do with the product and everything to do with the brand, and has now clocked up 8m views on Vimeo.


Heinz is another FMCG brand that frequently uses social to build excitement around its product launches.

As part of the marketing activities around a new Five Beanz variety, Heinz created a Facebook quiz app that told people what kind of bean they had grown up to become in response to a series of questions about their personality traits.

To encourage people to take part and share the app, five winners were picked every hour and sent a personalised bean and every user that invited 10 people to take the quiz was given a goodie bag. Heinz also offered Facebook fans a coupon so they could try the product.

The campaign ran for two weeks and achieved impressive results:

  • 22,143 took the quiz to apply for a personalised bean.
  • More than 10,000 users shared the app.
  • The campaign reached 10.8m people on Facebook.
  • It reached 3m people reached outside of Facebook through Twitter, blogs and news sites.
  • The Heinz Facebook community grew by 30,000 extra fans.


Never one to endorse brands shamelessly chasing Facebook ‘likes’, I was in two minds whether to include this campaign on the list.

However Heineken went beyond the usual “like us and we’ll give you a discount” tactic employed by many brands and instead offered to blow up one green balloon in its office for every new ‘like’ it got on its Brazilian fan page.

Heineken even personalised the campaign by reading out the names of some of the users on YouTube.

This is another great example of a fun, interactive campaign that is more about the brand than the product itself.

It earned Heineken thousands of new fans and helped to improve brand awareness in an emerging market.


A Belgian TV station setup a dramatic set piece in a town square to advertise a new TV station, involving a shoot out, fights and American football players.

To kick off the over-the-top action sequence, members of the public had to press a red button in the square with a sign saying ‘Push to add drama.’

As is often the case with viral videos, you’re never quite sure whether the members of the public are indeed genuinely unaware of what’s going on, but you can’t really argue with 39m YouTube views.

Mini USA

This video technically went live on YouTube at the end of December 2011, but I thought it was good enough to sneak onto the list anyway.

A social media marketing campaign with a healthy budget – Mini asked people to describe the best test drive ever in six words.

Matthew Foster came up with the winning entry and became the star of an ad to promote the launch of the new Mini Cooper.

It’s had less than 700,000 views on YouTube, but contains stewardesses, salt flats, paratroopers, sushi and a random rock band name Falconer. What’s not to love?